VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Sword (mandau) and scabbard
DUROM.1976.119.A-B
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

Traditionally the Iban marked the taking of a head with a tattoo on the back of one joint of one finger. Koh’s hands were tattooed all over and Malcolm MacDonald believed that Kohn had taken over 100 heads with this mandau during a period of time that effectively marked the end of head-hunting in Sarawak.

History of the Object
Temenggong Koh was an Iban war leader who had risen to power in the second half of the 19th century under the White Rajahs as they brought the peoples of the Borneo interior under their rule and established the boundaries of Sarawak. He achieved fame as the mightiest Iban headhunter of his generation and in his seventies was still active, directing activities against Japanese occupying forces during WWII.

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Type
Weaponry 
Materials
Metal, wood, horn and human hair 
Measurements
length 77cm, width 9.5cm 
Creator name
Iban 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Sarawak, Borneo 
Geography
Malaysia 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; 1800-1899 CE 
Function
Iban headhunting sword and scabbard 
Acquisition
Once belonged to the paramount chief of the Iban, Temonggong Koh. Gift from the Rt Hon Malcolm MacDonald in 1976 
Copyright
Copyright owned by Durham University Oriental Museum 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Owned by Durham University Oriental Museum 
Museum
Oriental Museum 
Credit line
Gift from the Rt Hon Malcolm MacDonald 

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